WIC Weekly April 12th 2020
Warsaw International Church
Mobile +48 601 331 032
Worship every Sunday at ul. Miodowa 21 (near Old Town) at 11:00 AM
Entrance from Schillera Street
Wishing you a blessed and Spirit-filled Easter!
It was wonderful that we could hold our second live online worship service on Zoom last Sunday at 11 am CET, and to be able to see many of our worshippers on the screen. With twenty-three households taking part, including from abroad, this was a moving experience for many of us, because not only were we participating in a service as a church at our usual time, but we could also have fellowship with one another afterwards.
During this Holy Week, we will be organizing a live online service on Good Friday at 5:30 pm CET, and of course on Easter Sunday at 11 am CET.
If you can manage to install Zoom, you can now access our live and recorded services by clicking on the links right here!:
Warsaw International Church Virtual Sunday Worship Service on Zoom @ 11:00 am Link: https://zoom.us/j/375882822 Meeting ID: 375-882-822 Password: 331 032
Warsaw International Church Good Friday Virtual Service on Zoom @ 5:30 pm Link: https://zoom.us/j/233829036 Meeting ID: 233-829-036 Password: 331 032
Here are the recorded Sunday services:
- Warsaw International Church Virtual Service - March 29th 2020
- Warsaw International Church Virtual Service - April 5th 2020
Great encouragement from one of our sisters in an email to me, that the Lord is protecting us in this time of hardship:
“I'm doing very well myself, thank God. I was sick for a few days but now I'm feeling better. If you remember our last Thursday meeting I was very worried about losing my job and being stranded here in Warsaw. I stayed for 1.5 weeks without a job, I was so worried about how I would sustain myself if that situation was to go on for months! Just out of the blue, a friend who I hadn't spoken to for months called to ask if I could live in her flat for free because she was going away for a few months and she needed someone to take care of her house plants, and the same day another friend asked if her friend could stay at my place and pay my rent for a couple of months, so everything worked out perfectly! The next day I started working online, and things have been great!
I just felt the need to write to you about this, because we prayed together with the Thursday [fellowship] group and God answered.”
Obviously we are continuing to pray for comfort and the nearness of God’s presence for those who have fallen ill, are suffering or have been bereaved – and of course, not just on account of the coronavirus. We must pray so much for the whole world to turn to the Lord, starting with our own relatives, friends and acquaintances, and then including our cities, towns, villages and nations, our continent, and beyond that the entire globe. In biblical terms, if God’s people turn to Him in desperate prayer, change their indifferent ways, seek His forgiveness and pray for themselves and for others to be purified, He will heal the land.
Please remember some of our own worshippers in your prayers: a brother and sister who have had to return to the USA because of health problems with their little child; a sister who has had to leave Poland in search of work; a brother who is experiencing serious problems with his employer; and a sister whose parents live in a part of India which has been greatly affected by the coronavirus.
Please also pray for several of our worshippers who have temporarily had their work suspended and may soon be experiencing serious financial problems.
Last Sunday’s sermon
Reading: Genesis 6, 11-14. Genesis 7, 7-10. 17 – Genesis 8, 1; John 12, 12-19.
Today’s New Testament reading is the familiar text for Palm Sunday. Jesus makes His way into Jerusalem, riding on a young donkey. Crowds of people come to see Him. In the whole capital city, the only talk is of Jesus. Jerusalem is indeed crowded – full of visitors who have travelled there to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. They show their enthusiasm and respect for Him by spreading palm branches along the road, as a sort of carpet for the Man they are now calling the “King of Israel”. Clearly, they expect great things of Him.
John’s version of this account also makes it clear that so many people have come to welcome Jesus because the whole city is talking about one recent event: how Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, just by opening his grave and shouting: “Lazarus, come out!” No one had ever witnessed such a miracle before. The Pharisees had heard about it too, and they were furious, because no one was paying any attention to them – all eyes were on Jesus. Of course, the same crowd of people would turn against Jesus very soon, and call for Him to be crucified – stirred up by the jealous Pharisees. But for now, Jesus was the man of the day.
I wonder if you can see any connection between this account and the Old Testament story of Noah? Certainly, one thing we can say is that the world is very evil. Those Pharisees, for example, were not only determined to have Jesus killed, but they also persuaded ordinary men and women to make an evil choice: to choose Barabbas, a convicted murderer, to go free, and Jesus, who was totally innocent, to be crucified in his place. Who says ordinary people are good and kind? They can be, when it suits them, but their hearts are changeable and capable of approving evil, if they have no solid foundation in God.
In the story of Noah, the entire world is corrupt, and God is angry with the whole of mankind. God hates it when we promote ourselves and leave Him out of the picture. God is so angry that He’s going to send large-scale destruction. Everything will be destroyed except Noah, his family and the animals in the ark. The floodwater rises, covering the whole earth for 150 days – five months.
I wonder what Noah did in the ark for five months? I suppose he had to feed all the animals. Perhaps he got bored after a while – he didn’t have television or a computer – and he was probably thinking how long this flood would last. Life isn’t much fun when you’re told to stay inside.
Can you see what I’m getting at? We’re a bit like Noah these days, aren’t we? Self-isolated, with dangerous nature outside, and no doubt worrying about when this virus crisis will all end. For the moment, the water is rising higher and higher – the number of confirmed cases and deaths is increasing. I’ve actually stopped hearing the news of deaths and suffering around the world – I no longer watch TV or listen to the radio. It doesn’t contribute anything to what I already know.
Why has this happened? The Bible gives an answer: because mankind is evil and corrupt. And why was Jesus crucified? – because mankind is evil and corrupt. Maybe you find it hard to believe the Bible on this point, and prefer the purely scientific explanation: it’s just one of those things that happen by chance. Probably most people in the world still believe this (that’s how corrupt their hearts are), but I prefer to believe the Bible. I believe with all my heart that God has sent us this plague to turn mankind back to Him. And its global nature reflects the global extent of human corruption. It will be interesting to talk to some of our unbelievers again in one month’s, two months’ and three months’ time. But God doesn’t want to destroy us, as in Noah’s day. He wants to make us spiritually alive, instead of being spiritually dead.
Our two stories today have two symbolic meanings. What does the ark represent, that keeps Noah safe? It represents Christ our Lord. Everything else may fall apart around you, but you are safe in Christ (though you may suffer, because as a Christian you participate in Christ’s suffering and death). The virus is indeed dangerous and can kill us. But the danger was no greater for missionaries who went to Africa over 100 years ago, and knew that at any moment they could die of a tropical disease. What I’m saying is that the danger and the uncertainty about the future should not dampen our enthusiasm or our praying for others to be converted to the Lord, and for Christians to be revived. In fact, when we Christians start praying – really desperately praying for the conversion of others – then God will hear our prayer.
And the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem – what does that symbolise? Well, what was the reason for the crowd’s interest in Jesus? – it was the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus was dead, and Christ revived him. That miracle symbolises the spiritual healing of a human soul. When the Spirit of Christ comes into a person, they become spiritually alive. People around them will notice the change, as in the Bible text. And, just as in the Bible reading, people will pay less attention to priests and pastors, who may even lead them astray, and more attention to Christ Himself, the source of the spiritual healing. And in that way, revival will spread, as more and more people look towards Christ, and become converted.
However, we must never forget that our healing – the fact that we are spiritually alive – has come at a cost, because Jesus went to His death. So many people cannot grasp that Jesus is the Lord God Himself. Jesus is the Lord. The Lord God incarnated as a man, in order to reconcile us to Him; to bring us into a closer relationship with Him; and to show us how much He loves us. He loves us so much that He paid a terrible, self-imposed price to forgive us our corrupt deeds and to remove our sins. He removed all the consequences of our sin by His death on the cross. By His death, we – His sheep – are covered in His blood, and – through faith – we are safe in Him, just like Noah.
Dear Friends, through this present crisis, God has given us time. When was the last time you had time? Even more remarkable: He’s given us time to pray. Many of us have got almost the whole day free to pray. The world might get bored – but we have time to pray. Surely the more intensely we pray, the more God will heal souls all over the world, and the sooner He will stop the virus. Certainly, God invites us to participate in His healing work, by our praying. No praying, no healing, no revival. God is waiting for you and me to pray for spiritual healing for a dying world. Amen.
This Friday’s and Sunday’s readings
10 April is Good Friday.
Verses for the day: “He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53, 5-6).
Psalm: 22, 1-11.
Gospel reading: Mark 15, 1-39.
12 April is Easter Sunday.
Verse for the week: “You have died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3, 3).
New Testament reading: Colossians 3, 1-11.
Gospel reading: John 20, 1-18.
Food of the Spirit
Abridged from All India Prayer Fellowship Bulletin:
Just as it pleased God to reveal His Son Jesus in us, it has pleased Him to entrust the Gospel of Christ into our hands. The stewardship of the Gospel is the greatest trust we are holding as His people. When the Master returns He wants to find His servant faithfully carrying on his stewardship. If he is found so doing he is a blessed servant worthy of commendation from his Lord.
The world is reliving the days of Noah just before the flood and those of Lot just before the destruction of Sodom. Wickedness, immorality and defiance are the order of the day. In an enlightened age of science, a spiritual darkness is enveloping the world. There is utter confusion everywhere. Humanity is out of gear.
Oh, Christians, if there is a time to gird up your loins and keep your lights burning, it is now or never! When our Lord said, "Ye are the light of the world," He meant it. His exhortation to us is to shine before a generation groping in darkness so that through us it might see Jesus, the Light of the world, and be saved.
We have the responsibility to keep the light of the Gospel burning. We have to keep the fires of holiness burning. We have to keep the light of the blessed hope of His return burning to the very end. The end is undoubtedly much nearer than we think.
The Lord, our Bridegroom, is coming to gather the Church, His Bride, who keeps herself without spot and wrinkle – holy. Our desire to keep ourselves undefiled from the stains of the world is a mark of our readiness to meet the Lord any time.
"Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light" (Rom. 13:11-12).
Please be informed that your Data Administrator within the meaning of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation, ”GDPR”), is Warsaw International Church with its registered office in Warsaw (00-789) at ul. Willowa 1.